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Discovering Ashkenaz: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe

YIVO's Shine Online Educational Series

Discovering Ashkenaz: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe
Taught by Prof. Sam Kassow

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About This Course

Over the centuries, despite different languages, religious customs, and geography, the Jewish people have maintained a coherent sense of self –But how has that happened? Many of the answers lie in the story of East European Jewry. The legacy of Jewish civilization in Eastern Europe is enormous: from Hasidism to the Jewish Enlightenment, to Yiddish Literature, Modern Hebrew Literature, Zionism, and more.

In Discovering Ashkenaz: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe, you will delve into the rich history and culture of the Jews of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania from Medieval times through the Communist Era. Explore Jewish relations with peasants and nobility, compare the rises of Hasidism and the Jewish Enlightenment, and investigate Yiddish and Hebrew modernism.

This course is an intensive, college-level survey, equivalent to two 2-hour sessions per week over six weeks. Work at your own pace, following the course videos and interactive quizzes and activities, explore YIVO’s unique archive and library collections, and join our discussion forum to meet up with students and faculty. Those who complete the whole course will get a special YIVO certificate!
More than 3,500 people from 48 states and 53 countries have signed up—will you join them?

About the Instructor

Samuel Kassow is the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, and is recognized as one of the world's leading scholars on the Holocaust and the Jews of Poland. Kassow was born in 1946 in a DP-camp in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up speaking Yiddish. Kassow attended the London School of Economics and Princeton University where he earned a PhD in 1976 with a study about students and professors in Tsarist Russia. He is widely known for his 2007 book, Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive (Indiana University Press). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, has won numerous awards, and has lectured widely.

Tuition and Registration Information

All of YIVO’s Shine Online courses are now free. YIVO is offering our entertaining and enlightening Shine Online courses for free. These courses provide meaningful content to sustain our minds and soul. We invite you to use this time to broaden your knowledge and learn about Jewish music, theater, literature, folklore and the history of our people and to access our many other free online resources.

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